Ice Climber (アイスクライマー, Aisu Kuraimā) is a vertical platformer developed and published by Nintendo. Originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, the game has since been ported to many of Nintendo's major platforms. In Ice Climber, the characters Popo (ポポ) and Nana (ナナ), collectively known as the Ice Climbers, venture up 32 ice-covered mountains to recover stolen vegetables from a giant condor. In 1984, a slightly different and lesser known version was released as part of the arcade Vs. Series called Vs. Ice Climber. In some European countries, the NES console was sold bundled with the game, increasing Ice Climber's familiarity outside Japan.
The first player controls Popo, a boy wearing a blue Eskimo parka, while the second player controls Nana, a girl wearing a pink Eskimo parka. The only tool they carry is a wooden mallet to carve openings in the ice above and to club enemies. Each mountain level consists of eight layers of colorful ice and a bonus stage. Standard, dull ice blocks pose no threat other than an easily disposed of barrier and platform. Square ice blocks with higher detail are indestructible forcing the player to take another path. Hatched ice acts as a conveyor belt sliding the Eskimo either left or right. Finally, many mountains include unbreakable moving platforms resembling clouds. The bonus stage takes place at the peak. Within a 40 second time limit and no enemies, the Ice Climbers often face trickier jumps and multiple moving platforms. The peak is also the only place to recover stolen vegetables, most notably eggplants. Collecting just one piece of corn from the fifth bonus stage is the only way to gain an extra life. At the top of the peak, the condor flies overhead.
Enemies encountered on the way up the mountains include the Topi, Nitpicker, and polar bear. Toppies come in two varieties: the seal featured in the Japanese release of Ice Climber and the small beaked yeti seen in western version. Toppies have the ability to fill in holes in the floor with ice. To do this, a Topi scouts out opening in the floor, runs back to its cave, and reemerges pushing an icicle to fill in two blocks. This process repeats until no more openings on their layer of ice exist. The Nitpicker is a small, mountain-dwelling bird that swoops down from icy caves on the levels' edges. Unlike the Topi, which is confined to one floor of the mountain, Nitpickers can cross over multiple ice layers. Taking them into account along with moving platforms and sliding ice, timing jumps can be more difficult. The final enemy is the bipedal polar bear. This enemy, wearing sunglasses and pink shorts, appears on screen only when Popo and Nana take too long to advance. Pounding the ice, the polar bear forces the screen to move up. If an Eskimo is forced off the screen, the player loses a life. Other obstacles include deadly falling icicles. These can form on the bottom of any type of platform. The arcade game Vs. Ice Climber includes a purple bee with a spear as a rare fourth enemy. After a few successful mountains climbed, all enemies' speeds increase.
The game can be played in one or two-player mode. The latter places Popo and Nana against each other in a race to the summit. Players may prefer to play cooperatively on the way up, but during the bonus round they compete for the top